Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The kids from Stranger Things perform Uptown Funk



The kids from Stranger Things performed at the Emmys pre-show last Sunday!

Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo warmed up the crowd with an electrifying performance of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' hit Uptown Funk. Thanks to Netflix and Jimmy Kimmel Live the video is now available to watch.



Can these great guys do no wrong? Of course not. Don't miss their appearance on Chelsea.

You can read my spoiler-free review of the Duffer brothers Stranger Things here. The series is currently streaming on Netflix.

Monday, 19 September 2016

This is the Loot Crate "Dream Crate" you're looking for



A few weeks ago the fine folks at Loot Crate approached me about assembling my “Dream Crate” as part of a blogger outreach. The winning entry may be turned into a future crate.

Here's what I came up with based on the theme of Star Wars. I know the franchise has been previously featured by Loot Crate. But, it would be a missed opportunity with Force Friday and Rogue One merchandise at the end of the month.

This is a "Dream Crate" and I was given permission to think big.

Jyn Erso Pop Vinyl



LEGO Imperial Assault Hover Tank



Black Series Stormtrooper electronic voice changer helmet



Death Trooper tree ornament



Darth Vader t-shirt



If you’re unfamiliar with Loot Crate, it is a monthly subscription service that delivers 4 – 6 geeky goods to your door curated from fantastic franchises. There is the original Loot Crate, Loot Anime, Loot Gaming, Loot Pets, Loot Wear, and Loot Crate DX, which can all be delivered monthly. With so many options, there’s a crate for everyone!

What would be your "Dream Crate"? Let me know in the comments below. Better yet, let Loot Crate know your ideas, they may become reality.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Michael Giacchino to compose Rogue One soundtrack



With only three months until release THR exclusively reports Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat has been replaced by longtime JJ Abrams collaborator Michael Giacchino on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This is due to the extensive summer reshoots requested by Disney executives, overseen by Tony Gilroy and director Gareth Edwards, and a resulting calendar conflict.

Michael Giacchino is no stranger to the big screen and has scored eclectic movies from Incredibles to Star Trek and his work will be heard next in Marvel's Doctor Strange. Giacchino's a lifelong Star Wars fan and cameoed in JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens as a First Order Stormtrooper.

Whilst I'm a fan of Alexandre Desplat. Michael Giacchino also channelled John Williams with aplomb in Jurassic World and there's no reason to think he won't do so again in a franchise synonymous with Williams' majestic music. Now if only they'd keep the iconic main theme and opening crawl...

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

What happens in Westworld stays in Westworld



Game of Thrones ends with season eight and HBO's pulling no punches with its remake of a Michael Crichton classic. Westworld. Crichton's original dysfunctional theme park. An idea the author and director would return to in Jurassic Park.

This isn't the first time a Westworld spin-off series has graced television screens. Beyond Westworld was a short-lived series in 1980 chronicling an attempt to use the robots in Delos to conquer the world.

The new series, premiering this October on HBO and Sky Atlantic in the UK, is shaping up to be a worthy heir to stablemate Game of Thrones on the award-winning network.



Following a software update, the machine inhabitants of Westworld have experienced an awakening...

I won't be posting specific spoilers as that would be a disservice. But, fans of Westworld will warmly welcome the nods to the original movie and its embracing of the new. This is a Westworld from the perspective of its robot inhabitants as they grind out an AI equivalent of Groundhog Day and discordant memories begin to surface with nightmarish consequences.

The compelling premise, also explored in AMC's Humans, is a springboard for the existential question posed by author Philip K. Dick: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Are the machines solely produced to satiate the wanton needs of base human desires without consequence or have they evolved into sentient beings deserving of equal rights? What would happen if they decided to rebel against their decadent masters?



On the strength of the four episodes I've watched courtesy of HBO; fans of tech noir are in for a treat worthy of Ex Machina, Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica and Terminator. The premiere episode is a masterclass in world building with a superlative cast including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood.

Evan Rachel Wood talks enthusiastically about the upcoming series: “It’s more of a revolution than a TV show. I don’t think people are going to expect it. They’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m excited. And everyone working on it, we’re all in agreement that it’s our Odyssey. We’re like, ‘This is going to be the one Everyone in the top of their fields is pouring everything they have into this, which is why it was such a massive undertaking and why filming was extended. It’s not because things are going badly. It’s because they’re so massive and it’s so complicated and we want to get it right. We’re not just phoning it in. We’re taking our time with it because it’s really important.”



Much was made of Westworld's delayed production last January. However, showrunners Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Lisa Joy needed more time to develop a masterplan spanning five seasons. On the strength of the pilot episode, directed by Jonathan Nolan, it was more than worth the wait.

“We didn’t want to have a story that repeated itself [each year] - we didn’t want the Fantasy Island version of this [where new guests arrive at the park every season]," Jonathan Nolan said. "We wanted a big story. We wanted the story of the origin of a new species and how that would play out in its complexity.”

Actor James Marsden (X-Men) goes on to say: “It wasn’t about getting the first 10 [episodes] done, it was about mapping out what the next 5 or 6 years are going to be. We wanted everything in line so that when the very last episode airs and we have our show finale, five or seven years down the line, we knew how it was going to end the first season – that’s the way Jonah and [executive producer J.J. Abrams] operate. They’re making sure all the ducks are in the row."

Westworld is a chilling and clever expose on human hubris and a potential televisual masterpiece in the making. This sci-fi series has been furnished with the utmost care and what I've seen suggests something truly special.

Westworld will premiere on 2nd October on HBO. Followed by Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 4th October.

Looking forward to Westworld? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Lightsaber Safety 101



What Star Wars fan doesn't want to wield a lightsaber around the home? This helpful instructional video, from the fine folks at Nukazooka, will guide you through the do's and don'ts! Don't be a Larry!



Share your lightsaber mishaps in the comments below.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Power of the Daleks is restored 50 years later



A Doctor Who classic, seemingly lost forever during the BBC's infamous purge of its studio masters in 1974, is to be released on digital download and DVD.

The Power of the Daleks.

The sixties serial is notable for being the first adventure of the newly regenerated Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton. The Doctor travels to Vulcan (not a Star Trek crossover) with companions Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) to thwart the Daleks latest cunning plan.

A painstaking black and white restoration, comprised of remaining footage, new animation, audio clips and photos, has been undertaken by an animation studio.

“The Power of the Daleks animation is the most ambitious Doctor Who archive restoration ever attempted and we’re all very honoured to be a part of such an exciting project,” director Charles Norton said.



“Intelligent, suspenseful and magnificently staged, Power of the Daleks is one of the great lost classics of 1960s television and a superb example of the black and white era at its finest.”

The Power of the Daleks will be released on the BBC Store website as a digital download, and will be available to download on Saturday 5th November, 50 years to the minute after its one and only airing on BBC One. A DVD will be available for purchase on the 21st November.

A special screening of episodes 1-3 of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks will take place at BFI Southbank, London on Saturday 5th November, with a Q&A from Director Charles Norton, star Anneke Wills and former Doctor Who companion Frazer Hines.

Looking forward to The Power of the Daleks? What other lost classics would you like to see released? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 is Thrawnalicious!



Star Wars Rebels season 3 begins 24th September on Disney XD and here's the latest trailer featuring Grand Admiral Thrawn, plotting the downfall of the Rebellion and the motley crew of the Ghost, to whet your appetite.



Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) was the scourge of the victorious Rebellion in author Timothy Zahn's sequel to Return of the Jedi, Heir to the Empire, published in 1991.

The Thrawn trilogy was well received by fans (including myself) and, arguably, kickstarted a mainstream renaissance in the Star Wars franchise that included Dark Horse Comics' Dark Empire trilogy and seminal first-person shooter Dark Forces, which inspired Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Looking forward to seeing fan favourite Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Star Wars fans Go Rogue on Force Friday



It's September and Force Friday returns on the 30th! The annual Star Wars merchandising event began with The Force Awakens and continues with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This year fans are invited to create their own Star Wars short films and skits as part of a creative alliance between Disney and Tongal. Go Rogue. The global contest, running from 30th September through 21st October, will be judged by a panel including director Gareth Edwards. Winners will be invited to Lucasfilm in San Francisco to attend a screening of Rogue One, and see their short story on the big screen.



The fan-created shorts, showcasing the new line of Rogue One toys for the first time, launched on the Star Wars YouTube channel, with weekly instalments of the four-part series released throughout September. Think Robot Chicken for all the family. Go Rogue is a fan-made homage to Disney's other franchise Toy Story.

The creative team was led by James DeJulio at Tongal, and the series was written by Kevin Ulrich and brought to life by stop-motion animators and directors Dan MacKenzie and Tucker Barrie. The stories follow the adventures of Rogue One toys from Hasbro, LEGO, Funko, Jakks Pacific, Mattel and Disney Store as they try to track down the building instructions to the LEGO Star Wars Death Star set which have been misplaced by the Empire.



“These fan-created shorts are a tribute to the incredible content that the Star Wars community posts online every day,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “The Go Rogue campaign was designed with Star Wars fans in mind – we want them to be front and center in the run up to ‘Rogue One’ by imagining and creating their own Rogue Stories."



“I’ve been a Star Wars fan my whole life so this is a dream project,” says James DeJulio, co-founder of Tongal. “It’s been amazing to see what an inspiration Star Wars has been to so many members of our creative community, whether that’s coming up with their own Star Wars storylines, or playing out scenes with Star Wars toys at home with their kids. I’m excited to share this first ‘Rogue Story’ with the world and hope it inspires other fans to share theirs.”



From LEGO sets to Nerf blasters and Black Series action figures to Sphero Force Band. This year's event promises to be spectacular and selected merchandise is available for pre-order today.



Given the merchandising legacy of the Star Wars franchise. The new toys will be almost as deeply scrutinised as the upcoming films themselves.

Looking forward to Force Friday? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Netflix renews Stranger Things for second season



Netflix has confirmed there'll be a second season of the Duffer brothers pop culture phenomenon: Stranger Things.

The second season announcement teaser trailer outlines enigmatic episode titles. These title chapters are Madmax, The Boy Who Came Back to Life, The Pumpkin Patch, The Palace, The Storm, The Pollywog, The Secret Cabin, The Brain, and The Lost Brother.



Stranger Things has resonated deeply with audiences in an era of nihilistic Hollywood blockbusters. Its use of mythological storytelling harkens back to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

"We wanted to feel like a big movie, so we wanted to solve that main tension of where Will went and what happened to him," Matt Duffer told press earlier this summer. "But then there's the bigger mythology behind what happened, so there's definitely a lot of dangling threads at the end… if people wanted it and Netflix wanted it, we could explore it and continue the storyline."

The second season will be set in 1984, a year after events in season one, and comprise of nine episodes when it premieres in 2017.

Whilst no official cast has been announced, you can expect the return of Ryder, Wolfhard, Matarazzo and the rest of the gang... but maybe not Brown's Eleven. Yes, you read that right. "We don't know about Eleven," Ross Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. "We leave that up in the air." How very dare they!

The Duffer brothers have alluded to the seminal sequels of James Cameron as an influence on the second season. Guys, you've got my attention.

Excited about returning to Upside Down? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Class channels Buffy in latest Doctor Who spin-off



Empire magazine interviewed Class showrunner Patrick Ness and he talks about the genesis of the latest Doctor Who spin-off: “Coal Hill has existed in Doctor Who since literally episode one. The Doctor’s granddaughter went there. So we thought, ‘All that time activity at the school, has that caused any problems?’ Well, what do you know, it has!”

Ness likens the new series to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Adults watch that, because it’s a great show, but the POV and the agency are all teenage, and that’s what we want to do with Class. It needs to be from the point of view of the sixth-formers – but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a ‘young show’.”

“We’re not telling stories of the ‘chosen ones’,” Ness continues. “It’s happenstance that puts these people [at the centre of things]. What if your timing is just weird and things happen to you? How do you deal with it? I’m interested in real consequences. The Doctor is always exciting, but he never stays. He goes off on the next adventure. What happens to real people?”

The spin-off seemingly shares DNA with another Doctor Who spin-off. Torchwood. However, Jack Harness' adventures were darker in tone and dealt with more mature adult themes.

Class premieres this October on BBC One and BBC Three. BBC America will syndicate the new series.

Looking forward to the new spin-off series? Let me know in the comments below.